Friday, July 23, 2010

We checked out this book from the library:
(Image from
These lovely Dutch authors have several similarly-food-themed books, all of which we've loved.  Inspired by their creations, the kids wanted to make some mushroom men.  Here's what we came up with:

And the red pepper car:

Everyone together:

And what do you do with all these mushroom men when you've finished with them?  You fry them up and eat them, of course!
(Don't worry, those were food-coloring markers we used)
Here they are, feeling a little less put together:
Amazingly, the kids were eager to eat them.  J never got one as far as inside his mouth, though.  E dug right in and gave them an enthusiastic two thumbs up, which shocked me to no end!  Babycakes was hesitant at first, but ate a few in the end and seemed to enjoy them.  Mushroom men--YUM!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blueberry Pie

'Tis the season for blueberries, and if you can find some fantastic ones, there is nothing better than putting them all together in this delicious and juicy pie!  I used the crust from my Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, but of course you can use any crust you'd like.

Blueberry Pie
Pastry crust for a 2-crust pie
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch (if using wild blueberries instead of cultivated, increase to 1/3 cup)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
1 lime
6 cups blueberries
2 T butter, cut into pieces
1 egg
1 tsp water

Prepare crust through chilling. 
Preheat oven to 425F.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside.  From lime, remove zest with a zester, then squeeze 1 T juice.  Add lime zest, lime juice, and blueberries to the sugar mixture, tossing until combined. 
Roll out bottom pastry crust and line a 9" pie plate with it.  Pour filling into crust and dot the top of the filling with butter.  Roll out top crust, then cut out a center hole and 1" slits to allow steam to escape.  Place over filling and crimp edges. 
Combine egg and water and brush over crust.  Place pie onto a foil-lined baking sheet to catch any overflow.  Bake at 425F for 20 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375F, cover edges of crust with foil, and bake an additional 1 hour.  The entire crust may be loosely covered with foil for the last 20-30 minutes of baking if it's getting too brown.
Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour to serve warm, or cool completely. 
Serves 10.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

This is a super easy and fast recipe, and tastes so good.  You can use fresh ingredients if you have them or pre-packaged if you don't.  Either way it's pretty great.

Bruschetta Chicken Bake


2 cups chopped tomatoes with their juices, or 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
6 oz dry stuffing mix (I recommend Pepperidge Farm, or Stove Top will do if you can't find that)
1/2 cup water (may need a bit more if using fresh tomatoes)
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 T fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped, or 1 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400F.  Place tomatoes with liquid in a medium bowl.  Add stuffing mix and water; stir until bread is just moistened (if there is still a lot of dry bread, add a bit more water, but you don't want it soggy).  Set aside.  Spray a 9"x13" pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Place chicken in a single layer in the pan, then sprinkle with basil and mozzarella.  Top with the stuffing mixture.  Bake at 400F for 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Serves 6-8 as a main dish.

Fruit Salad

I love this fruit salad.  I think the lime and mint really bring out the flavor of the fruit, and make it extra  delicious!  You can of course use any fruit you have on hand.

Fruit Salad

8-10 cups cut fruit, such as watermelon, canteloupe, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, mango, peaches, nectarines, etc.
1/4 cup sugar
1 lime
2 tsp fresh mint leaves, chopped

At least 30 minutes before you're going to be serving, zest the entire lime using a zester or a fine grater.  Stir the lime zest into the sugar until well mixed; set aside.  Just before serving, combine all fruit in a large bowl.  Add lime sugar and mint leaves and toss until evenly coated.  Serve immediately.
Serves 10 as a side dish.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Patriotic Pancakes

Why not spice up your 4th of July breakfast with these Patriotic Pancakes? They do take slightly longer than regular pancakes to make, but the results are worth it! 

Start with my basic Buttermilk Pancake recipe (I doubled it this time).

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 cup flour
2 T sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 T butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  Add the wet ingredients and mix until combined (may be slightly lumpy).  Heat your griddle over medium heat until water drops dance on top.  Use about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.  Cook until edges are dull and a few bubbles have popped on the surface of the pancake, then flip and cook 30 seconds on the other side.  Serve hot.
Makes about 12 pancakes.

For the Patriotic version, divide the batter into three bowls.  Using food coloring, dye one bowl red and one blue; leave the third bowl white.  There are a few different styles of pancakes that I made using the three colors:

Red, White, and Blue stripes:
Using a spoon (I used a regular spoon like you would use to eat cereal or ice cream with), make a red spot, a white spot, and a blue spot, all touching.  Bake like normal. This makes a pancake that is oval in shape and has a red stripe, a white stripe, and a blue stripe.  It's the easiest to make by far.

Red, White, or Blue Stars:
Spray non-stick spray (like Pam) on the inside edges of a star-shaped cookie cutter.  Place the cookie cutter on your hot griddle. Pour one spoonful of batter (pick a color) into the cutter.  Let it sit until set, then carefully slide your pancake-turner under the cutter, grab the cutter with your fingers or tongs (it will probably be hot), and flip it over.  If you've greased it well the pancake inside should slip down to the griddle.  Cook until set, then remove to a plate and take off the cutter.  You can gently push the pancake out if it sticks a little.  Re-grease the cutter and do it again.  When it's done baking you can just eat with syrup or you can decorate with berries, like so.
Flag Pancake:
To make the flag pancake, start with the blue blob for the starry field.  Then make a red stripe at the top to the right of the blue (I found that the longer and thinner you make it, the better it looks when cooked).  Make a white stripe under the red, then a red and then another white if you have room.  Be very careful when flipping this--make sure it's pretty set so it doesn't run everywhere and mix your colors.  You can decorate it with berries and powdered sugar (or whipped cream) or just eat it with syrup.
Happy American kids love patriotic pancakes!

Ben and Jerry's Oreo Mint Ice Cream

Last night I pulled out the Ben & Jerry's ice cream recipe book that someone gave us as a wedding present long ago.  We made a few flavors when we first got it but then it somehow got relegated to the back of the cookbook pile and I just found it again recently.

We had a special party for the women at my church and homemade ice cream was on the menu, so this is what I brought.  It was a huge hit--the most popular flavor by far.  It turned out fantastically, and my kids said it was better than store-bought.  You can eat it straight from the ice cream maker (it's a little soft at that point) or you can put it into a flattish tupperware container and put it in the freezer for a few hours and it will be solid like the kind you buy at the store.  Either way it tastes delicious!

Ben & Jerry's Oreo Mint Ice Cream

1 cup coarsely chopped Oreo cookies
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk (I used whole)
2 tsp peppermint extract

Place the Oreos in a bowl and refrigerate until needed.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs vigorously until light and foamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar a little at a time, whisking constantly, until all the sugar has been added.  Whisk an additional minute to fully combine.  Add the cream and milk and whisk until blended.  Add the peppermint extract and whisk until all is well combined.

Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions for freezing the ice cream.  When the ice cream is set (about 2 minutes before it is fully finished) add the Oreos, then finish freezing.

Makes about 7 1-cup servings.